Taking Care of Yourself
Rest and sleep when you can. Take time for yourself
to feel happy.
Your body is healing and getting used to breastfeeding. Your
body’s way of dealing with this is to increase your need
for sleep. The hormones of breastfeeding will make you feel relaxed
and sleepy as well.
Keep the time when your baby sleeps for yourself. Be patient
with your recovery. It can take months.
You may feel a strain in your physical relationship with your
partner. There may not even be the time to talk about your day,
let alone think about sex. You may have to re-learn how to be
physical with each other.
Taking care of your body:
Soap can cause drying of the nipples. You can massage breastmilk
into your nipples to prevent cracking. When possible allow your
nipples to dry in the air. Choose cotton bras.
Many mothers leak while nursing or when they think of their
baby. You can press your hand firmly into your breast to stop
the flow. Nursing pads in a bra can help you to keep your clothing
dry (paper tissues next to the nipple are too rough).
If your nipple sticks to the bra or nursing pad, moisten it
with water. Learning how to express milk from your breasts will
help you to keep your breasts feeling comfortable (see Hand
Can I lose weight while breastfeeding?
Nursing often is a physical activity that improves your body's
metabolism the same way exercise does. It will also help stabilize
your insulin levels if you have had gestational diabetes. Losing
the weight you gained will happen more easily if you nurse often
- avoid introducing your baby to formula or solid foods before
- continue to nurse your baby into the second year. and beyond
Avoid dieting as this can make you feel physical tired and can
make you feel cranky.
Safe sunlight and the need for vitamin D:
Mothers need vitamin D; some mothers need more than others.
Direct sunshine is the normal way for the skin to make vitamin
D. In Saskatchewan during April to October, it will take 10-15
minutes per day in the sun without sun block. Cover your head
and expose your arms and legs. This will give you enough vitamin
D during the summer. You will need to get vitamin D from your
diet or a supplement during the winter.
|Health Canada recommends
keeping your baby under a year out of direct sunlight. This
means that a vitamin D supplement of 400-800 IU is needed. Check
with your doctor for the dosage your baby needs. Give this supplement
daily. Start this within the first month after birth. Continue
until your child is a year old or until consuming 400 IU from
a dietary source.
Discuss this with your Public Health Nurse.
Financial support for breastfeeding
If you are presently receiving social assistance there is an
extra food allowance for you while you are breastfeeding. Contact
your social worker or Public Health Nurse for more information.
Birth control while breastfeeding:
Becoming pregnant while your baby is very young can lead to
problems with your milk supply. Using a birth control method that
can protect your breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can not keep you from becoming pregnant.
Exclusive breastfeeding, however, during the first six months
may. You will need to breastfeed following the Lactational
Amenorrhea Method (LAM) to ensure that exclusive breastfeeding
can work for you. Your Public Health Nurse can provide you with
information on this method and other family planning methods that
can work for breastfeeding mothers.
Discuss these options with your health care provider or family
doctor before deciding what will work for you.